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"I couldn't hope to be in better form. That doesn’t mean I'll win but I'm hopeful," John Degenkolb told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Photo: A.S.O.

ALBERT TIMMER

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DRIES DEVENYNS

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JOHN DEGENKOLB

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KOEN DE KORT

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MILANO - SANREMO

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REINARDT JANSE VAN RENSBURG

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ROY CURVERS

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SIMON GESCHKE

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOM STAMSNIJDER

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21.03.2014 @ 14:31 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

John Degenkolb might have been regarded by some as an underdog to take the spoils in the coming edition of Milano-Sanremo, while everyone’s favorites in the likes of Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) are all ready and raring to fight for the victory in the last sprinters-friendly edition of La Primavera. However, given his splendid disposition, highly suitable characteristics and almost infallible team set to support their sole captain, German sprinter will be the one to watch on Sunday.

 

There is a fierce rivalry for leadership within a ranks of the Giant-Shimano team between two talented German sprinters Degenkolb and Kittel, and even though the latter slowly becomes regarded as a fastest man in the professional peloton, the Dutch team’s management had no doubts who’s their man for the 2014 edition of the first cycling monument in the calendar.

With the ability to handle the climbs like Cipressa and Poggio combined with his splendid sprinting skills and apparent affection for the long hours of tough racing, Degenkolb has everything what it takes to excel on the parcours like this year’s Milano-Sanremo route. The 25-year old German sprinter has already proved it by finishing fifth in his debut what was followed by eighteenth place taken last year.

 

While the removal of the Pompeiana climb certainly deosn’t work in favour of Sagan or Cancellara who would hope for a slightly more challenging route to keep all pure sprinters at bay, the latter still would strongly rely on their teams’ support to stay in contention after negotiating the climbs in the middle part of Milano-Sanremo route, especially when the rainy weather plays as important role as expected.

However as the sole Giant-Shimano leader Degenkolb will have the extremely strong team for his own disposition, those factors shouldn’t be any threat for the German as he has showed a truly amazing disposition in the Paris-Nice last week, winning the points classification after a short stint in the yellow jersey and staying in the leader’s group on the climbs.

 

"I couldn't hope to be in better form. That doesn’t mean I'll win but I'm hopeful," Degenkolb told Gazzetta dello Sport.

 

"I live for days like this. I haven’t let all the talk about the course bother me, the race will be hard anyway, with the best riders emerging."

 

"These long races really suit me. I had a good week's preparation in Paris - Nice and am happy with my form. Winning a stage and taking the green jersey there was good for the confidence, and I am really looking forward to Sunday," Degenkolb said on the Giant-Shimano website.

 

Degenkolb’s role as Giant-Shimano’s sole captain was confirmed by their coach Marc Reef, pointing out that the 25-year old German will have in-form riders for his own disposition. Certainly Roy Curvers and Koen de Kort will serve with their perfect lead out for their leader in the finale, while Simon Geschke could be the joker of the Dutch squad whether the race develops in some unexpected direction.

 

"John will be the absolute leader for us and we have the guys to support him," team coach Marc Reef said.

 

"We have a really strong line-up for this race and the guys have shown in both Paris - Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico that they are riding well. The goal is to get the best possible result, and after a fifth place two years ago we have to try for more!"

 

 

The full Giant-Shimano roster for Milano-Sanremo consists of:

John Degenkolb, Roy Curvers, Dries Devenyns, Tom Stamsnijder, Albert Timmer, Simon Geschke, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Koen de Kort.

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